Particle Falls

Digital artist Andrea Polli has managed to make air pollution visible—and beautiful. To draw attention to the dust, metals, sulfates, and nitrates spewed out by diesel engines and other sources, she created “Particle Falls.” On display last year, the installation projected air quality data onto the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia in real time. Polli, a professor of both art and engineering at the University of New Mexico, set up a nephelometer, an air monitor measuring fine particulate matter. She then translated the presence of pollution into spots of bright color over a background of falling blue light. A passing bus could set off a cascade of color. Learn more about this and other environmental science art at sensingchange.chemheritage.org.

Photo ©2013 Greg Benson

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